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Racism mars Euro 2012 kick-off
The Euro 2012 football championships have been marred by racism before they had even begun.
For months the much-anticipated tournament has been discussed in light of concerns over host nations Poland and Ukraine's right wing "ultra" fans' racist behaviour.
At an open training session in Krakow, Poland, Dutch players were subjected to monkey chants with Holland captain Mark van Bommel branding the incident "a real disgrace".
Governing body of European football, Uefa, has vowed to crack down on racism at the championships after acknowledging the abuse which happened at Wisla Krakow's Miejski Stadium.
Uefa confirmed they would consider increasing the number of stewards at open training sessions in order to eject fans if there was a repeat incident.
They said in a statement: "Uefa has now been made aware that there were some isolated incidents of racist chanting that occurred at the open training session of the Dutch team.
"Uefa has not yet received any formal complaint from the KNVB (Dutch football association).
"Should such behaviour happen at further training sessions, Uefa would evaluate the operational measures to be taken to protect the players.
"Uefa has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discriminatory behaviour and has given the power to referees to stop matches in case of any repeated racist behaviour."
The abuse of Holland's black players was said to be bad enough for the squad to move their equipment and training drills as far away as possible from the chanters.
Former Holland and Chelsea star Ruud Gullit, now a Uefa representative, said: "Everybody was very, very upset."
Van Bommel told anyone who denied Wednesday's incident was racially-motivated to "open your ears", adding: "If you did hear it and don't want to hear it, that is even worse."
There has been a lack of clarity over the best way to respond to racist chants during competitive matches.
Uefa president Michel Platini said on Wednesday that referees would halt or even abandon matches if there was serious racism from the stands during Euro 2012.
Mario Balotelli - whose Italy side are also based in Krakow - had threatened to walk off in protest if he was racially abused during games but Platini warned that any player who did so would be yellow-carded.
Such were the fears over racism the families of two of England's black players, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, have already decided against travelling to the tournament because of the potential problems.
Piara Powar, chief executive of European football's leading campaign group against racism, the Fare network, called on teams to play their "open" training sessions behind closed doors if necessary.
He said: "Public displays of intolerance like this - xenophobia, anti-semitism and racism - can't be allowed to go on.
"If that means playing behind closed doors and closing down that whole open training system then I think that needs to be done."
Poland and Ukraine have the eyes of the world on them as the major championships - watched by a global audience - get under way.
Apart from problems over racism, the tournament is under the spotlight because of political protests over human rights in Ukraine.
UK ministers are boycotting the initial stages of the tournament in response to the treatment of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
The move came after other European countries including Germany and France announced that senior politicians would boycott games played in Ukraine unless the human rights situation under President Viktor Yanukovych improved.
Ms Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years last year after what supporters claim was a show trial.
The former prime minister staged a hunger strike in April after photos appeared showing bruises on her body. She has accused prison guards of assaulting her.
A statement released by the Foreign Office said: "The Government fully supports England's participation in Euro 2012. We hope this is a successful tournament for the England team, the fans and the people of Ukraine and Poland.
"No ministers will be attending group games at Euro 2012.
"We are keeping attendance at later stages of the tournament under review in the light of ministers' busy schedules ahead of the Olympics and widespread concerns about selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine."
Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "There are serious problems of course in Ukraine - I think everyone is well familiar with those problems.
"So I hope for our team it's a great sporting event but of course we don't want people to understand that as giving political support to some things that have been happening in Ukraine that we don't agree with."
But the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, Volodymyr Khandogyi, called the ministerial snub of England's Euro 2012 group matches "a misjudgment".
A St James's Palace spokesman said the Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association, would also not be attending the event.